The Edmond Sun

Our View

June 23, 2014

OUR VIEW: Bring ‘dark money’ into the light

EDMOND — Several statewide races this primary season have tacked toward the negative as no candidate has appeared to have a clear majority ahead of today’s primary voting — particularly in the U.S. Senate unexpired term seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee.

But more often than not, it’s not the actual candidates’ campaigns that have delved so easily into half-truths, misdirection and outright lies. No, those ads are attributed to vaguely named 501(c)(4) groups that have gained the term “dark money” groups.

With the Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court in 2010, corporations gained the ability to spend as much as they want for candidates while individuals are held to $2,300 in contributions per cycle in federal races, meaning individuals can chip in up to $7,900 if a candidate makes a primary election, runoff election and the general election in a campaign. In a state race, individuals cannot give more than $5,000 per election campaign encompassing all three elections.

“Dark” appropriately describes these backroom groups who apparently can say anything they want — whether it’s the truth or not.

Many of these television ads have bordered on defamation of character but there’s no one to hold responsible. These groups do not have to disclose who is contributing funding to them. And therein lies the real problem.

If they want to lambaste the other candidate, that’s fine, but do so in the light of day so that if something does go wrong the people responsible can be held accountable. It’s the morally right thing to do. It’s a pretty simple concept that we learn in elementary school — own your actions and be honest about them. Even Facebook does not readily allow anonymous posting to its social media site. If Facebook can enforce some decorum when people want to make claims we’re pretty sure the government should be able to figure it out.

It wasn’t that many years ago that a municipal election regarding the zoning for the Spring Creek retail area had its own brush with a group financing negative advertising without naming who was paying for it in an effort to sway the vote their way. The City Council was asked to change municipal law to require groups who try to sway Edmond elections to be held more accountable.

The State of Oklahoma since has figured it out and now requires municipalities to enforce certain accountability rules in campaigns with the signing of Senate Bill 1745 this year.

With examples at all levels of government, it’s clear that this issue needs a lot more sunshine exposing dark money groups’ shenanigans. The only way to get there is for voters to inform themselves well, choose the best candidate and ask them to help change the law.

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Our View
  • OUR VIEW: Bring ‘dark money’ into the light

    Several statewide races this primary season have tacked toward the negative as no candidate has appeared to have a clear majority ahead of today’s primary voting — particularly in the U.S. Senate unexpired term seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee.

    June 23, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Schools should examine future lobbying efforts

    The Edmond Board of Education will have its annual summer retreat next week in which the members will gather to plan for policy changes for the next academic year. They also will look at the district’s overall goals as well as long-range planning for facility and program needs.

    May 27, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Don’t wait to improve reading

    One state representative wants to hold off implementing The Oklahoma Reading Sufficiency Act until more funding for the education reform is put in place by the Legislature.

    February 17, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Votes needed Tuesday

    Voters in the Edmond Public Schools’ District 4 seat will be asked to make a choice Tuesday at the ballot box.
    Running for Edmond Board of Education are Cynthia Benson and Stephanie Bills. This is for a five-year term of service on the board and replaces the seat vacated last year by longtime board member George Cohlmia. Bills was appointed by the Board of Education last spring to fulfill the remainder of Cohlmia’s unexpired term.

    February 8, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Consider storm shelter petition carefully

    Thousands of Oklahomans are expected to sign a petition seeking a state bond issue to pay for installing storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school. And after seeing the destruction wrought in Moore — again — we certainly support the need for school districts to vigorously pursue adding storm shelters to their buildings.
    However, the mechanism that we choose to pay for this endeavor needs to be carefully considered.

    November 18, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Even one death by violence is too many

    A recent study highlights the rate of women killed by men in 2011. In this study, Oklahoma ranked third in the nation with 38 women killed that year by men, often their partners. In 2010, there were 27 women killed by men in Oklahoma.

    October 25, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: We’re tired of waiting

    Getting to a compromise before Thursday’s deadline to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling may take more political willpower and guts than most in Congress currently have to give.

    October 14, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Caudill should step down

    Oklahoma County Clerk Carolynn Caudill has apologized publicly for her actions. She takes the blame for her Sept. 17 DUI arrest and promises constituents that she will be better in the future.

    September 30, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Thank you Supreme Court

    All Oklahomans received good news this past week when the state Supreme Court ruled that the University of Central Oklahoma can legally use the Master Lease program from the State Regents of Higher Education to pay for bonds to build a new Oklahoma Medical Examiner’s Office.

    September 28, 2013

  • OUR VIEW: Downtown needs homegrown vision

    Local developer Pete Reeser brought up an excellent question this week before the Edmond City Council.

    September 14, 2013